Wednesday 4 December 2013

Review ~ Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir

Random House Publishing Group
December 3 2013

I was really excited when I was given the opportunity to read this book in advance of its publication, as Elizabeth of York has long been one of my favourite Tudor queens. The documented evidence of her life and times, and the turbulent period of her early youth certainly has enough information to warrant several books about her life.

As always, Alison Weir has produced an impeccable and very readable biography, which begins with Elizabeth's birth on the 11th February 1466 in the royal palace of Westminster.  Born to Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, she was the first princess to be born to an English monarch for over a century. The news of the birth of a royal princess was met with great jubilation and the prosperity of the ruling house of York seemed secure. However, the dark and violent years which followed Elizabeth's birth would see brother pitched against brother, and the country plunged into political turmoil, which culminated at the ill fated Yorkist defeat at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

All too often we see repetitive biographies of the great and the good of our historical inheritance, whilst those who somehow stand quietly in the background tend to be forgotten. Such has been the case, I think, with Elizabeth of York, as all too often we see her merely as a shadowy figure against the more robust rendition of Tudor history in relation to her husband and infamous son. It is refreshing, therefore, to view an interesting and very readable account of this most enigmatic of English queens.

I think that Alison Weir has really brought to life the challenging times in which Elizabeth lived and demonstrated how the very survival of the newly established house of Tudor was largely reliant on the convincing political association which Elizabeth brought to the marriage. It is entirely credible that without Elizabeth of York's vital input, the royal house of Tudor would have been much maligned.

If, like me, you love to read historical fiction set during the Plantagenet and Tudor periods in English history; then this is definitely one of those books to have in your historical arsenal. It’s an interesting dip into and out of sort of book, but which also works well, as it reads as easily as a good historical novel. 

My only niggle is that this is one of those books I would prefer to have in hardback rather than on my kindle, as I like to be able to see good illustrations and to be able backtrack within the text.

Highly readable and highly recommended.

My thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing /Ballantine for my advance copy of this book.


1 comment:

  1. Since watching The White Queen, I was intrigued to find out more about Edward's and Elizabeth's daughter, as the show stopped at a point where not much was elaborated on. This looks like an interesting and well informed read - I've heard good things about Weir's work, so I'm glad to have read your review!

    Nell at And Nell Writes


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